Few former pro basketball players have as much determination, drive, and business acumen as Shaquille O’Neal. He was a beast on the court, but his post-career journey has been even more impressive and full of surprises. Since retiring from playing, the Hall of Famer has earned his doctorate degree, been sworn in as an actual sheriff’s deputy in Clayton County, Georgia, has gotten into pro wrestling bouts, and continues to earn tens of millions per year from endorsements. While his life is certainly inspiring, many of the things that he’s said over the years are as well.
Here are ten inspiring quotes by Shaquille O’Neal.
1. “When you’re righteous, you don’t have to tell people that you’re righteous.”
Whether it’s proving himself on the court or in business, Shaq has always been more about action than talk. This is one of the quotes by Shaquille O’Neal that the star truly lives by, as evidenced by how he’s chosen to live his life.
2. “I did everything the right way and earned my spot in this game, nothing was given to me.”
This quote refers to playing pro basketball, but it applies in so many other areas as well. When you put in the work and earn your success, no one can ever take that away from you. Part of the reason that Shaquille O’Neal is so sure of himself is that he knows he deserves all he has due to the effort he gave to be where he is.
3. “Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.”
Whether it’s learning a new skill, bringing about needed changes, or perfecting one of your strengths, you have to do something over and over to excel at it. Shaq has managed to achieve excellence in his post-playing career, and that’s largely due to habits that he set up well before retiring.
4. “I guess people think the taller you are the more dominant you have to be.”
At 7’1″ it’s an understatement to say that Shaquille O’Neal is tall. Many expect him to be a strong brute who forces his way around, but that’s the total opposite of his playful character and demeanor. Though he’s a great guy in person, his stature precedes him and Shaq has always known the perception that people who don’t know him have based on height alone.
5. “I’m a weird big guy. Doing rapping, doing movies. Do a lot of stuff. But always do things the right way.”
It’s amazing how many things that Shaquille O’Neal has gotten into both before and after his pro basketball career. Through everything, he’s aimed to maintain his character and integrity — when your accomplishments are ill-gotten, there’s no way you can truly be satisfied with yourself. Instead of reaching the top by any means necessary, Shaq has been careful to act in a way that he feels is righteous.
6. “Me shooting 40% at the foul line is just God’s way to say nobody’s perfect.”
Shaquille O’Neal is a living basketball legend, but even he had his faults on the court. Still, his shortcomings never stopped him from achieving greatness in other areas and becoming one of the best to play the game. Rather than trying to be perfect at any one thing, his focus is on reaching his personal best.
7. “Look up the word role in the dictionary and you’ll see it means playing a part. That’s why I call myself a real model.”
It doesn’t matter what area you’re struggling in, more likely than not you’ll find inspiration in Shaquille O’Neal’s life. He is a consummate role model — or real model, as he’d put it — not only for the many kids who look up to him, but adults as well. Want to know how to be a wise steward of money? Look to Shaq. Need to prove that you’re never too old to learn something new? He’s also the guy to motivate you. Even the way that he’s managed to successfully co-parent after divorce is something to admire.
8. “I don’t believe that I personally have been changed by the money. The bad thing is people assume you’ve changed because now you have money.”
Shaquille O’Neal is worth well over $350 million, so it’s easy to understand why some people would assume he’s much different now than before he was wealthy. However, he’s still the same nice guy with a big heart that he always was, and his riches haven’t changed where his mind is at. Whatever anyone else has thought of him, Shaq hasn’t let it cloud his perception of himself or stop him from doing the right things.
9. “The day I stopped worrying about stats is the day I started winning.”
Sometimes people can get so caught up in the fine details that they miss the big picture and as a result miss even bigger opportunities. It’s natural for an athlete to keep an eye on his stats, but when it gets to the point that you alter the way you play and think about the game based on that alone, you’re going to create a roadblock for yourself. Shaquille O’Neal let go of always having his eye on those numbers and began to really soar. The same goes for anyone who is trying to improve: if you focus on making your best progress possible instead of meeting the standard of perfection, you’ll be much better off.
10. “I really get motivated when I have doubters.”
There have been people doubtful about so many things in Shaquille O’Neal’s life. His foray into movies and music was met with skepticism, so he pushed back harder. When he wanted to further his college education and people wondered why and how he’d do it, he kept on studying and ended up with a doctorate degree. And of course, there were a slew of instances during his playing career where doubters reared their heads, only for Shaq to end up victorious. The lesson: instead of letting naysayers throw you off track, brush off what they say and prove them wrong.
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